Wave Newspapers contributing editor Betty Pleasant got hold of a letter that ex-LAPD chief Daryl Gates wrote ripping L.A. Times reporter Joel Rubin's coverage of the William Parker naming controversy. Pleasant, no fan of Parker or Gates, picks apart the letter at Soulvine Daily; it's her explanation of how an opinion columnist works (with a reference to the LAT's Tim Rutten) that I'll pass along here:
As a journalist who specializes in expressing my opinions about virtually everything under the sun, taking sides on almost every issue I see and advocating for or against anything that piques interest, I know that similarly obtuse people who disagree with our work regard us as biased, unfair and unobjective reporters who do not cover both sides of an issue. Of course we don’t. We are not reporters. We are commentators and columnists who are not required to give quarter to an opinion counter to our own — except in cases when we want to demean it, repudiate it and tear it apart. The only opinion that matters to us is our own, so naturally we are “incredibly biased,” unfair and totally subjective and we are completely upfront about it. The whole point of my and Rutten’s body of work is to get you, the reader, to agree with us and reach the same logical conclusions we have.
Pleasant also remembers a black aide to Parker who used to try spinning her when Pleasant reported at the Los Angeles Sentinel:
She was Parker’s Nubian lackey and spent all of her time in my face at the Sentinel trying to shut me up. Every time a police atrocity occurred involving a Black person, Sgt. Strange came running to my Central Avenue office to feed me the police line and keep me from writing the truth and upsetting the nigras. She’d always show up and ask: "How can I help you?" I always responded: "By gettin’ the hell out of here so I can write."